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Indian State Logs Microsoft Out

Via Digg and Slashdot comes the news from the Financial Express that Richard Stallman's recent visit to Kerala has "has inspired Kerala’s transition to free software." No more MS in the classroom, Linux only. Too bad we can't focus here in the US on the long term ideological and pedagogical benefits of such a move and advocate this switch along with instituting the OLPC here in K-6.

A Google Calendar Palm Pilot Solution


After just a couple of weeks at GVSU, I've decided that I don't like Novell Groupwise. Palm Desktop software seems a much more user friendly calendar and contact management program. So since I recently ditched my Treo phone in favor of Motorola V915, I have to find an alternative calendar and contact information. I had high hopes for the Motorola Phone Tools application so I could sync calendar and contact information, but it basically sucks unless you use MS Outlook. The desktop interface is just crappy, so bad that I can't believe that they sell it. It's really not worth anything more beyond using it to back up the phone contact list.

So it's back to Palm with a new Zire 22. Now I'm looking at how I can create the best syncing and access solution. Palm Desktop works great on the PC and iCalendar will sync with it via the Mac G5 in my office. What would round this out nicely is if I could get Google Calendar to sync with everything so that my calendar is available when I've forgotten to carry my Zire, and eventually, move toward syncing my phone.

It's possible to subscribe to a Google Calendar with iCal. CompanionLink for Google Calendar may be able to sync with my mobile phone and/or the Palm Desktop, but it costs money. And then there is GCalSync, an open source app that may let Google Calendar sync with my phone. Syncplicity is another potential option (when it's available). Anyone have any other application recommendations in this regard?

introducing MediaCommons


if:book has just posted about a new project: MediaCommons. From a theoretical standpoint, this is an exciting collection of ideas for a new scholarly community, and I wish if:book the best in building and promoting MediaCommons.

From a pragmatic standpoint, however, I would offer the following advice which I also discussed this weekend with the WPA during their yearly conference in regards to revising the existing WPA site and offering new services to members. The "If We Build It, They Will Come" strategy of web community development is laudable, but often doomed to failure. There are many projects around the web which are inspired by great ideas, yet they fail. Installing and configuring a content management system website is the easy part. Creating content for the site and building a community of people who use it is much harder. I feel it is typically better to limit the scope of a project early on and create a smaller community space in which the project can grow, then add more to serve the community's needs over time (more on this later).

Design for an effective user experience

In part 2 of their "Using open source software to design, develop, and deploy a collaborative Web site," IBM developerWorks has posted a great tutorial on analysis and design of putting together a website. I will probably use this in my writing for the web class in the fall.

IBM developerWorks recommends Drupal


IBM developerWorks has begun a series of articles designed to help people build a collaborative website with Drupal: Using open source software to design, develop, and deploy a collaborative Web site.

Link courtesy of Dig